FEC Seeks Public Comment On Adding ‘Valuable Information’ To Defined Contributions

August 23, 2019 by Dan McCue
"I voted" stickers in San Diego. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The Federal Elections Commission is seeking public comment on a proposal to include “valuable information” to the definition of a “contribution” used in its regulations.

Currently commission regulations define a “contribution” as “any gift, subscription, loan … advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.”

But in April, the FEC received a petition from a quartet of open government advocacy organizations, asking it to amend its definitions.

Not only does it include a request that the agency fold “valuable information” into its definition, it further asked it to define such information as that which is not freely available to the public; is made available to a person regulated by the Federal Election Campaign Act; is offered at below market rate or by a person not hired by the recipient to generate such information; and is likely to influence the outcome of a federal election.

The petition also sets out two types of this “valuable information” for special treatment: “foreign information” and “compromising information.”

‘‘Foreign Information’’ would include any information that comes from a source that is prohibited from making contributions under the Act; ‘‘Compromising Information’’ would include ‘‘any information that could be used to blackmail or otherwise compromise any candidate for federal office (including indirect coercion, such as of a candidate’s family), regardless of source.

The Petition would require any person who receives or is offered foreign or compromising information to notify the FEC in writing within three days.

The commission would then be required to initiate an investigation into the receipt of the information and to provide a report to the FBI and “any other law enforcement entity with likely jurisdiction over the matter” within 14 days.

In the case of compromising information, the petition seeks to have the FEC notify “every reasonably identifiable person against whom such information could be used, or whose private information is disclosed by such information.”

The public may inspect the Petition on the commission’s website, or in the Commission’s Public Records Office, 1050 First Street NE, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C., Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Comments must be submitted on or before Sept. 30, 2019. All comments must be in writing.

Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically through the commission’s website. Alternatively, comments can be submitted in paper form, addressed to the Federal Election Commission, Attn.: Esther Gyory, Acting Assistant General Counsel, 1050 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20463.

In The News

Health

Voting

Elections

Aggregate Use of FEC Data on PAC Contributors Okay, Agency Says
Elections
Aggregate Use of FEC Data on PAC Contributors Okay, Agency Says
February 26, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - An independent political committee's use of aggregate contribution data related to PACs does not run afoul of the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Federal Elections Commission said.  Full Employment Now-Political Action Committee is an independent expenditure-only political committee that engages members of Congress and Congressional candidates... Read More

All Eyes on Iowa Governor Over Elections Bill
In The States
All Eyes on Iowa Governor Over Elections Bill
February 26, 2021
by TWN Staff

DES MOINES, Iowa - Residents of Iowa will have to wait until next week to learn if dramatic changes are going to be made to how they participate in future elections.  Earlier this week, both houses of the State Legislature voted along party lines with their... Read More

Kilmer, Fitzpatrick Out to Restore Integrity of America’s Election Watchdog
Elections
Kilmer, Fitzpatrick Out to Restore Integrity of America’s Election Watchdog
February 25, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., have launched an effort to untangle the increasingly common deadlocks at the Federal Elections Commission and enable it to more effectively carry out its mission to oversee and enforce campaign finance laws. On Wednesday, the two... Read More

Former FEC Chairs Offer Bipartisan Endorsement of For The People Act
Elections
Former FEC Chairs Offer Bipartisan Endorsement of For The People Act
February 23, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Two former chairs of the Federal Elections Commission -- one a Democrat, the other a Republican -- have thrown their support behind the election reform provisions of the For the People Act. In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate, Trevor... Read More

Election Commission Plans for More Secure Votes and Elections
Elections
Election Commission Plans for More Secure Votes and Elections
February 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A federal election official described the 2020 vote as one of the most difficult in American history during a congressional hearing Monday. The COVID-19 pandemic, reports of attempted foreign cyberattacks and allegations of fraud by President Donald Trump and his supporters played havoc with... Read More

FEC to Host Webinar for Membership and Labor Organization PACs
Elections
FEC to Host Webinar for Membership and Labor Organization PACs
February 16, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The Federal Election Commission will hold a one-day online seminar for membership organizations, labor organizations, and their political action committees on March 24, 2021. These interactive workshops are designed for those seeking an introduction to the basic provisions of the law as well as for those more... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top